NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), a nursing home in Sheffield and Sheffield City College have come together to pilot an apprenticeship scheme for care home staff.

One in a series of care home pilots across the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, the aim of the initiative is to better develop care home staff, giving Care Assistants the opportunity to progress into other nursing roles and improve the overall quality of care for patients.

The Broomgrove Trust Nursing Home in Sheffield has recently advertised a vacancy for an Apprentice Level Two Adult Care Assistant to test the approach. The apprentice will spend time in the care home caring for patients, learning on the job under the supervision of a registered nurse, whilst also spending some time in college learning relevant care theory.

Zoe Richardson, New Models of Care Project Manager from NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “Care workers do a tremendous job caring for vulnerable people with, in some cases, multiple complex needs, we want to lift the role of Care Assistant generally to reflect the vitally important work they do.

“We know that the population is getting older and more people are living in nursing and care homes towards the end of their life, it is important, therefore, that we look at new ways to develop those working in nursing and care homes as demand increases. We are delighted to be working with the Broomgrove Trust Nursing Home because they have a proven track record of developing their staff. We will review the progress of their apprentice once they are in place with the aim to expand the scheme further.”

This new approach is in keeping with that set out in the recently published NHS Long Term Plan which encourages the breakdown of traditional organisational boundaries for the benefit of patients.

Donna Pierpoint from the Broomgrove Trust Nursing Home, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this ground-breaking piece of work, our staff work extremely hard to deliver the care our patients deserve. Offering our staff the opportunity to develop has multiple benefits for us as a service but most importantly for our patients.”

Linda Crofts is the Workforce lead from the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, a partnership of NHS and social care organisations working together, she said: “It is fantastic to see organisations working in this way, pooling resources and expertise to develop staff and improve care for patients. We are keen to see how this pilot scheme develops and the improvements in care it brings about to see how similar approaches can be adopted elsewhere.”